I have been taking a hiatus from Stonemaier games over the last few years, but Scythe and Viticulture will always have a special place in my heart. Scythe was the first game I backed on Kickstarter and I can still remember the anticipation from initially pledging until the delivery date. Viticulture was the first game I played on a weekly basis and I eventually became really…really…ridiculously good.. at it (I’ll take up any challenges on the app, and I’ll let you win if you get the reference). Rolling Realms pays homage to each game in the Stonemaier catalog, from Scythe to Red Rising, by representing each game on a realm card including a visual likeness and mechanics from the game represented in the realm. (I might not have played every game, but I am very familiar with each. Coming off of my recent roll/flip and write high from Cartographers, Fleet the dice game, and Hadrian’s wall, I knew I had to ask for a review copy of Rolling Realms.
In a normal game of Rolling Realms, you choose three realms randomly and set them out. Each realm plays differently, roll the two dice and use both dice on two different realms if possible. Play 9 turns, then choose three more realms and repeat until three rounds are complete. The person with the most stars wins. There is not much rules overhead on the main flow of the game, but additional rules are added as you learn each realm for the first time and resources.
In the Scythe realm, you can gain a resource by using one of your two dice to gain a resource, you may also choose to pay a resource to do the bottom action and gain a star without paying a second die.
Each die represents a different shape, fill in the realm as you would the buildings in the Tapestry board. Once you complete a square, receive the resources printed there and once you complete a row or column, receive a star.
In the Charterstone realm, you can use a die on a building to receive a resource. Once you choose a die to place on a top building, you place the other rolled die on the corresponding bottom crate. The goal of this realm is to get a set of the same number on crates, so when you use a turn to make the crates for stars, you can mark multiple.
The resource board is how you keep track of resources gained and spent. You are able to use resources at any time during the game. Spending resources will enable you to gain additional dice and modify dice.
Solo Gaming Goodness
I went into this game relatively blind. I pretty much assumed it would be a beat your own score type of small box roll and write. The guys at Automa Factory were set out to prove me wrong. There is a 18 GAME CAMPAIGN HERE! The solo campaign takes the form of a golf course, each hole has a different challenge and specific requirements to beat it. Better yet, there is a whole par system involved, the par represents how many attempts it should take to beat a scenario, some holes coming in at a par of 1, others at a par of 3. There is also a hard mode to try once you beat the par of 36 for normal mode. The challenges are all unique, all requiring specific realms, some requiring less turns and other challenges, like reaching a specific resource amount by the end of the game. Rumor has it, there is an actual automa that was scratched, in lieu of something with less upkeep for such a chill game. I agree with the decision, but I would still like to try using the automa as well.
Roll and Wrap Up
Rolling Realms is a very nice and concise small box package. Everything is premium, from the box to the oversized dice. The rules are basically 2 pages, with another 2 pages for solo rules. Each game in the campaign made me think about everything I was doing and created a real challenge to come in under par. For solo players, this is a great way to build community through this game. It’s very easy to choose three realms, roll dice and have everyone use that information to take their turns, then compare results. I sense another solo challenge approaching…
Watch it Played https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsk4bPy-VWg